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unrefined state it frequently obtains an unmerited character for burning, when the fault lies in those who have the charge of the lamps in which it is consumed.
The feuks, or ultimate refuse of the blubber, form an excellent manure; the fibres of the whale's tail are capable of being converted into glue, and are extensively used in the manufacture of this article in Holland. The whalebone seems first to have been employed in the stays of ladies; its application to this purpose, at one period when the quantity imported was small, was so general that it attained, in the wholesale way, the price of 700/. per ton. The white enamel (found in some species of whalebone) has been fabricated into ladies' bonnets, and into a variety of ornamental forms as head-dresses. Many patents for its peculiar use, in various ways, have been taken out, such as for brushes, stuffing for cushions, cloth for webbing, &c. &c.
The size and appearance of the whale have been
much overrated and exaggerated, but still they
must present a most formidable and extraordinary appearance, when floating on the surface of the water, either dead or alive. Captain King, of Her Majesty's ship Adventure, says, "On the 1st January, 1828, in lat 43° 17', and long. 61° 9', I was informed that we were close to a rock. Upon going on deck, I saw the object. It was a dead whale upon whose half-putrid body large flocks of birds were settled. Many on board were sceptical, until, on passing to leeward, the strong odour testified the fact. Its appearance, certainly, was like the summit of a large dark brown rock covered with weeds and barnacles; and the myriads of birds which surrounded it added to the deception. It could, however, be distinguished by its buoyancy; for the water did not break over it, as, of course, it would have done had it been a fixed body. Whales, when struck by the fishers, frequently escape and perish ; the carcase then floats on the sea until decomposed, or eaten by birds and fishes. A small vessel striking against such a mass, would probably be severely injured, and at night, the body, from the sea not breaking against it, might not be easily seen."
Captain Fitzroy of the Beagle writes, "14 January, 1830. We were at this time running free, under treble-reefed top-sails, with top-gallant-yards and masts on deck—the wind being strong from W.N.W., but the weather tolerably clear. Suddenly the boatswain hailed, 'Hard a port! a rock under the bows!' Round the little vessel turned almost as fast as the order was given. But the thrill that shot through us was, happily, not the precursor of our destruction; for the supposed rock proved to be a huge whale, which had risen close to the bows, and was mistaken for the top of a rock by the boatswain, who was looking out on the forecastle, while I was at the mast-head, and 'hands ' upon deck."
From the animal being so far removed from the haunts of men, we have acquired but imperfect knowledge of their manners and habits of life, but what already has been fully ascertained makes the largest known creature in the world an object of especial interest.
WATER-MOLE OF AUSTRALIA.
The Duch-billed Platypus.
Of all the mammalia yet known, the platypus seems the most extraordinary in its conformation, verifying, in a striking manner, the remark of BufFon, "that whatever was possible for Nature to produce has actually been produced." It forms a kind of link between the bird and the quadruped, exhibiting the perfect resemblance of the beak of a duck engrafted on the head of a quadruped. So accurate is the similitude, that, at first view, it excites the idea of some deceptive preparation by artificial means. The body is like that of the otter, mole, and beaver; it is covered with long and thick dark-brown hair; on the belly, breast, and throat, this is very soft and silky. In length it is from eighteen to twenty